Mines remain very conservative in their investment choices, sticking to those things that deliver an immediate return such as predictive maintenance and mine management software, according to a new research.
In fact, the case for innovation in mining has never been more compelling for a rather controversial industry.
“If we are to deliver the step-changes required to create a truly modern, safe and productive industry on a sustainable basis that society demands and that our customers expect, the industry must evolve,” as specialised magazine Angloamerican recently published. This comes to address what the industry has gone through recently as the last two years have put tremendous strain. Demands for efficiency have increased, while the means to invest in new programmes to support such efficiency have often fallen away with prices. New technology trends in mining, in the form of mining software and innovations in water resilience, are offering the greatest opportunities for efficiency gains and are worth investigating for adaptation across the sector.
In this respect, a latest report, ‘Global Mine-Site Technology Adoption Survey, 2018’, carried out by GlobalData, reveals accordingly to what Angloamerican pointed out: that predictive maintenance and mine management software have seen the highest penetration levels and mining companies of all sizes are predicted to continue to invest. In contrast, less than 40% of miners have invested, even to a minor degree, in cloud computing, augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR).
The report includes data and analysis from the company’s survey of over 200 worldwide mine sites, which investigated the extent to which mines had invested in 13 different technologies ranging from communication systems to drones, predictive maintenance, cloud computing, autonomous vehicles and wearables, as well as their investment intentions over the next two years.
David Kurtz, Director of Analysis, Mining and Construction at GlobalData commented, ‘‘This is positive news for software companies such as Dassault Systèmes, who offer a range of options under the Geovia brand, and Datamine, who together work with almost half of the mines surveyed. Other popular choices are Maptek, Deswik and RungePincockMinarco, which are collectively used by over 20% of the mines surveyed.’’
Amongst the other technologies investigated, whilst relatively few had yet invested in remote control vehicles, a reasonable share (35%) are planning to invest, either initially or as part of further investment, in this technology over the next two years. This will rank remote control vehicles in third place behind predictive maintenance (39%) and mine management software (48%).
Kurtz added, “Investment in mine-site technology to date has been dominated by the majors, however the smaller miners are following suit in areas such as mine management software and predictive maintenance which allows them to increase productivity and run their complex operations as efficiently as possible.”